3 apps for your student newsroom

Are you ready to take your school publication to the next level? Interactive media can help boost engagement in your content and attract more viewers to your site. Here are three tools to help you get there.

HP Reveal (formerly known as Aurasma)

HP Reveal is an augmented reality application, available for Android and iOS devices. HP Reveal is perfect for use with video from sporting events, campus events and interviews. It adds a fun, interactive layer to this content.

  1. Download the app and create a team account. You will use this account to post all your "Auras." Only staffers and advisors should have access to this account.
  2. Log in to the account. Click the blue plus sign in the top-right corner of the screen and take a picture of the object on which you want to overlay a video. You can make sure that the picture will turn out high quality by looking at the meter above the square frame in which you are going to take the picture. When the dot is in the green, you have a quality photo on which to overlay your video. Click the purple dot at the bottom of the screen once you have your desired picture.
  3. Decide what videos you want to use for your Auras. The simplest way to link auras is to have the video saved in your camera roll and click the “Device” tab after you take your photo for the overlay. You can then upload the video directly from your camera roll.
  4. After you upload the video, you will be directed to a “Position Overlay” screen. You will see two circles appear over the image. This is just the app overlaying your video to the photo. Once the two dots go away and your video appears, you can position the video as desired to fit within the square frame.
  5. Once your video is positioned to your liking, click the “Next,” button in the upper right corner, and proceed to name your Aura. At The Cougar Press, we title our auras with something that is relevant to the video, photo and article. For example, a video from Banned Books week at VHS would be titled, “Banned Books Week.” It’s very simple, but it allows us to keep our auras organized and easily recognizable.
  6. Then, click your usernames public aura channel. If you don't, the Aura will post to a private channel and the general public won't be able to access it. (Quick tip: the blue checkmark on the left hand-side of the channel indicates what channel you will be posting your aura to, so make sure it’s public!)
  7. Click “Submit,” in the upper right corner and your Aura is done. The blue "Share" button lets you promote your new aura on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Want to see an "Aura" in action? Here's a short tutorial on how to follow The Cougar Press on HP Reveal.

Vimeo

Video is a great way to add depth to stories and keep readers engaged. Our tool of choice is Vimeo; it's compatible with Wordpress sites and is not typically blocked on our school wifi networks so students can access our videos. The app offers basic (free) and three business (paid) subscriptions; Vimeo Plus, Vimeo PRO, and Vimeo Business. We have Vimeo Plus. We pay $7 per month for 5GB per week of storage and 250GB per year.

  1. Create an account for your staff.  Be sure to include a bio, location and profile picture.
  2. Begin uploading! Click the blue cloud with the arrow icon in the bottom right-hand corner and select a video from your library. Add a title, description (including videographer credit), and select the privacy level you want. (We make our videos available for everyone to view.) Click the blue upload bar in the right-hand corner to start the upload.
  3. Once the upload finishes, go to the video and, in the upper right-hand corner, click the bottom box with the arrow that allows you to share the video. Copy the link and paste it wherever you need it. If you are posting to Wordpress, it will automatically embed within the story.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is ideal for posting audio files of interviews online and embedding them in articles. Like the other apps, you will need to create an account for your team. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to begin uploading your interviews.

  1. To start, click the “Upload” tab in the right-hand corner of the screen. Click the orange tab in the center of the screen that says, “Choose a File to Upload,” and select the desired file.
  2. Add a title, description, and relevant genres or tags if applicable to your video. Also make sure that the setting of your clip is public so people can view it.
  3. Click “Update Image” and select a photo to use as the background of your clip. Click "Save."
  4. To embed and share your track, click the blue “Go to Your Track” text, and click "Share" below the track in the left-hand corner.
  5. Click the middle “Embed” tab and choose your desired color for the "Play” button. Scroll down and click “Share” again on the example of what your track will look like. The link is now ready for you to share on your website and social-media networks.

Brooke Newman is a senior at Ventura High School and editor-in-chief of the Cougar Press.

Tech Tips is a weekly column in SmartBrief on EdTech. Have a tech tip to share? Contact us at knamahoe@smartbrief.com

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